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Preemption, Nk & Me


Peter Beinart quotes me in his new piece on the Korean crisis, as though I favor a preemptive strike. That’s not quite true. I do believe that, like it or not, it will eventually come to war. But I’m not necessarily recommending a strike right away. More than anything, I’ve been laying out the unpleasant options, none of which, I think, are clear choices. If, on the other hand, Beinart thinks negotiations are obviously the way to go, he needs to articulate a plausible scenario for their success. What I see in Beinart’s piece is not a policy, but an attempt to blame president Bush for the impossible choice foisted on him by the Clinton administration’s actions, North Korea’s perfidy, and the new world of terrorism. But I’m not interesting in blaming Beinart. The Korean situation is a profound dilemma, and we need the help of The New Republic, which has served this country so well since 9/11. If The New Republic really wants to move the Bush administration toward a solution, the most important thing it can do is lay out a scenario for how to achieve one. I believe that the administration would eagerly consider any plausible new ideas. Right now, more than anything, it must feel trapped–because trapped is what we are.


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